James Complains About Seven Delicious Biscuits

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If you’re good at maths you will see seven biscuits in this picture. If you see eight then hang your head in shame.

 

I enjoy a good biscuit as much as anyone. Pre-pandemic, when I used to have to attend meetings in person, I always felt slightly less hostile towards the meeting organiser if there were biscuits available. Not that biscuits could ever truly redeem any meeting, but when they were available they could help to ease the pain a little.

And while I would never actively encourage visitors to Chez Proclaims, you can be assured that if you manage to dupe me into allowing you past the threshold of my house, then I will provide you with a biscuit. And it will be a nice biscuit. Something from the ‘Tesco’s Finest’ or ‘Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference’ range. Or maybe, if I’m feeling particularly generous, it could even be an offering from Marks and Spencer.

But probably not from Waitrose. Not any more. Not after what they did.

“But James”, I hear you cry, “surely Waitrose do some very nice biscuits?”

Oh yes dear reader. Waitrose do some exceptionally nice biscuits. Some of the best I’ve ever tasted. But you shall not find them in my house.

“But what have you got against Waitrose?” I hear you plaintively protest.

I have nothing against Waitrose. I like shopping there. Even during the pandemic, when going to the supermarket has often felt akin to diving for treasure in shark-infested crocodiles, only to find that someone has already taken the treasure and left some weird lentil-based pasta twirls in it’s place, I haven’t hated shopping in Waitrose. Apart from the cost, because it’s a little more expensive than other supermarkets. But I do like a lot of the stuff they sell, in spite of the mild inconvenience of not really being able to afford it.

But let’s get back to my problem with the biscuits.

It might seem like a little thing. I’m sure some people will call me petty. But those people would be wrong.

A few weeks ago I purchased a packet of chocolate-orange cookies. And they were absolutely delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed them. They were near enough biscuit nirvana.

The trouble was that they came in a packet of seven.

Seven!

What kind of inhuman monster sells biscuits in packs of seven?

OK, I’m sure I’ve already got the mathematicians on board, but it is possible that some people might be lost, so allow me to explain in greater depth, why I believe this be such a heinous crime.

Seven is far and away the worst quantity to sell biscuits in because seven is a prime number. It is only divisible by one and seven.

This means that if you buy a packet of seven biscuits, it’s impossible to share them evenly with anyone else unless you are sharing them with exactly six other people and you all have one solitary biscuit each. And when does that happen? How often are there exactly seven people in a room partaking in biscuit consumption? It’s quite a specific scenario. And if that ever does happen, then, as I said, everyone only gets one biscuit each. And surely no-one ever only wants one biscuit.

Any other scenario and you can’t divide the biscuits evenly. Someone will end up with more than everyone else. And I’m sure that marriages have broken down over less serious matters than ‘uneven biscuit distribution’.

The other option is to scoff the lot yourself. But whereas the smaller prime numbers, two, three and even five are acceptable numbers for solitary biscuit consumption (five I’ll concede is at the limit of acceptability but hardly hedonistic), seven biscuits is really too many for one person to eat on their own. Of course I could easily put away seven biscuits in one sitting, but I shouldn’t and I resent Waitrose for putting me in that position.

Biscuits should be sold in even numbers because then you can always share them with another person. I can, however, accept a packet of nine because that can at least be split three ways. Little Proclaims is too little to be given an equal share of the biscuits at the moment but one day I might be glad of a packet of biscuits offering a convenient three-way distribution.

Eleven or thirteen would also be quite bad quantities for biscuits to be sold in, but when you get to that amount then it’s surely implicit that you would need to save some for another day. And anyway, thirteen is permissible on the grounds of novelty value because it’s the traditional ‘baker’s dozen’, so it’s really twelve plus a bonus biscuit.

No, the worst number to sell biscuits in is seven.

And I am absolutely correct to be angry about this.

 

 

 

 

 

A Pun-ishing Eggs-ercise In Which I Shell Not Egg-Cell In Cracking Eggs-tremely Eggs-cellent Yolks

James Proclaims (4)

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If the title of the post has brought you to here in the eggs-pectation that I’ll be cracking lots of egg-based puns then I’m sorry to disappoint, but I won’t be.

Apart from in that sentence.

Which I admit, looks a little misleading as disclaimers go.

But, much as I enjoy a good egg-based pun it’s eggs-hausting trying to crowbar them into whatever I’m writing, so I’m not going to do any more.

But if you want to leave some in the comments then feel free.

The comments section of a blog is the place for egg-based humour.

I look forward to seeing you there.

In the meantime I must write about the elephant in the room.

Which is not an actual elephant.

I’ve done a whole post about an actual elephant in the room before. It was hilarious. You can read it now if you click on these words.

The elephant in this post is entirely metaphorical. For the elephant in this room is none-other than the noble Easter Egg.

I know Easter isn’t really about the giving and receiving of chocolate eggs and frankly the worldwide pandemic is causing bigger issues than whether or not I get to eat a chocolate egg or two today.

But I like an Easter Egg. It reminds me of when I was a child. And given that I have really struggled over the last forty-one years with the whole ‘growing-up’ malarkey, I need things like overpriced chocolate eggs to keep my, rather loud, inner child happy. Also I have a rather loud ‘outer’ child who lives in my house. She’s my daughter.

Although she’s still only twenty months old so she doesn’t much care about Easter Eggs yet.

I’m certain she’d like an Easter Egg if I gave her one, because she does like chocolate.

Or she claims to like chocolate.

I mean she does like actual chocolate, but she tends to refer to lots of things that aren’t chocolate as chocolate. She often uses  it as a synonym for things which look quite appealing to eat.

Sometimes it might be other nice things like gingerbread or cake.

But the other day I distinctly heard her refer to a stone she found in the garden as chocolate so I’m not sure her tastes are all that discerning yet.

But back to the eggs.

Often Mrs Proclaims and I will buy each other an Easter Egg. It’s one of many things we try to do to demonstrate that we like each other.

Which we do.

But in the current climate, we’re only supposed to go out to make essential purchases.

And it’s hard to argue that an Easter Egg is an essential purchase.

There were stories in the media about the police taking issue with certain shops who were selling Easter Eggs. It’s hard to imagine that could be down to the British media seizing on one or two incidents of slightly overzealous policing at a time of great confusion and uncertainty to provoke a reaction from an already bewildered and fearful public. That doesn’t sound like the British media at all…

Still, Easter Eggs have been on sale in the supermarkets, so, while it would seem irresponsible for Mrs Proclaims and I to have gone out specifically to buy them, I felt entirely justified in just shoving some into the trolley when I was braving Tesco for my essential weekly groceries recently.

There was an offer if you bought three so I bought three.

Which could be distributed evenly between my wife, my child and myself.

But, as discussed, Little Proclaims is really too young to have her own Easter Egg.

And if I’m honest, Mrs Proclaims didn’t desperately want one either.

So I may have purchased three largish chocolate eggs entirely for my own consumption.

Obviously my wife and daughter might have a bit of chocolate egg here and there to help me out.

But I’m going to be eating most of the chocolate myself.

On reflection, this may not have been a sensible purchase.

But the supermarkets are such stressful places these days.

So I think, by only getting three, I actually demonstrated great restraint.

And for the first time in a long time, there was plenty of toilet paper on the supermarket shelves this week, so if excessive chocolate consumption causes any undesirable effects, then I’m covered there too.

 

 

 

Xmas Epilogue or Yuletide Eulogy

James Proclaims (4)

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Today is January 6th and by any definition Christmas is now over. Except for all the masses of chocolate, wine and beer that appear to be in plentiful supply chez moi. This surplus is partly due to the fact that I was, for much of the festive period, quite unwell and indeed on medication, so I was less inclined to consume it all as readily as I might under normal circumstances. However, I did still consume a fair bit of chocolate and, once I’d finished with medication (circa New Year’s Eve), I also upped my alcohol intake so the remaining produce is partly still around because there was just a lot of it to begin with.

People that I know seem to be aware that I like all of the above consumables, probably  because I tell them this at every available opportunity. Consequently a lot of the gifts I receive tend to be of that ilk. And I receive a surprising amount of gifts for someone as curmudgeonly as I imagine myself to be.

It’s ok though; my New Year’s Resolutions, such as they are, did not include going on a diet. It wouldn’t work. I like food and drink too much to ever really be committed to not consuming it.

I’d rather exercise, which I am, once again, doing quite a bit. I’m not quite up to swimming, which is currently my preferred method of calorie burning, because a recent spell of consecutive ear infections has resulted in medical advice to avoid the pool for a few weeks. But I am going to the gym, which is fine. Not fun, but functional. Functional has the word fun in it. But they are not synonyms.

Today, though, I return to work after having had the last two weeks off.

As previously mentioned, I was quite ill for the last fortnight. As were my wife and child. We did our best to enjoy the festivities but my home was not a happy place. Still, I’d rather relive the last two weeks in perpetuity than go back to work.

Insofar as I have to do any job, I don’t especially object to my job but in truth I can’t imagine a scenario whereby doing any job would be better than not having to work at all.

Some people suggest that not having a job would be boring.

Those people are wrong.

I could happily fill my time without the need for a job. I’m not saying I’d contribute anything valuable to society, but I would be happy enough.

But for some reason my mortgage provider expects me to make ‘regular payments’ to them just because they once lent me quite a lot of money so I could buy a house. It’s extortion really.

But as no-one is prepared to give me money for sitting around in my Christmas onesie, eating chocolate and watching bad movies, I have had to pack up said onesie for another year and don a shirt and tie again. And it’s not even the ‘fun’ Christmas-themed tie that I ‘hilariously’ wore the week before Christmas.

But the chocolate-eating will continue. I have enough to last me until Easter and we all know what happens then.

And alongside the new influx of chocolate, there will be an eggs-cuse to crack lots of egg-cellent yolks, which I shell be egg-static about.

Too soon?

 

 

 

 

 

Forlornly Fatigued

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Sometimes when I feel tired
I’m not really that nice
And it’s better to avoid me
Or make interactions more concise

I don’t mean to be so grumpy
Like a bear with a sore head
But I’m not very good at coping
When I spend too little time in bed

I’ll be much better tomorrow
When I’ve had a chance to rest
But today will be a challenge
And I won’t be at my best

So I wouldn’t bother trying
To engage with me today
I’ll be morose and sulky
If I cannot get my way

Better just to ignore me
And pretend that I’m not here
I might be a little joyless
But there’s nothing much to fear

Although it might help a little
If you want to cheer me up
To give me lots of chocolate
And pour some coffee in my cup

Where Did All The Chocolate Go?

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Where did all the chocolate go?
I had so much last week
But now I cannot find it
No matter where I seek?

It seems strange that it is gone
There was a plentiful supply
But it’s nowhere to be seen
And I really don’t know why

Ok I did eat some of it
Back on Easter Sunday
And I consumed a little more
During Bank Holiday Monday

And yes I might have had some
On Tuesday after lunch
And a delightful bit of Easter Egg
On Wednesday I did munch

But on Thursday there was plenty left
I know because I had some
And though I tried hard to abstain
On Friday I did succumb

But I hadn’t finished all of it
As Saturday was dawning
So I might have had a smidgen
To see me through the morning

But now it seems to have all gone
What has become of it?
And here’s another mystery
My trousers don’t now fit!

Calories Are Not Just For Christmas

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It’s not that I’m sick of the festive fare
But there still seems to be lots of it everywhere
And it’s hard to stop eating high calorie treats
When the cupboards are full of chocolates and sweets

Willpower has never been a friend of mine
If temptation is there then I’ll rarely decline
And though I should clearly be trying to lose weight
I’d rather indulge in food that tastes great

But alas that means the future is bleak
For my waistline is as large as my resolve is weak
And this problem’s not going to end anytime soon
I’ve got enough chocolate to last until June

So the only solution that I can see
Is to forget the diet and set myself free
To eat all I want till all of it’s gone
And buy bigger trousers that I can get on

Truffle Tribulations

Oh expensive box of chocolates
I don’t know what to do
You’re so very pricey
I don’t think I should eat you

I’m not sure that I’m worthy
To enjoy your fancy flavours
I’m not sophisticated
I won’t take the time to savour

The subtle combinations
Is that ginger I can taste?
I’m afraid the hint of chilli
Is something of a waste

On a pleb like me
Who just wants something sweet
To enjoy with my coffee
So any chocolate is a treat

Though you may be rather special
I’m afraid that I care not
I could save you for when guests come round
But I’ll probably scoff the lot

A Taxonomy of Chocolate Bars

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If you’ve clicked on this expecting a well-thought out classification of all the different chocolate bars available in the UK then you’ll be sadly disappointed.

Also, what is wrong with you?

Seriously, who needs to know about chocolate bars to that extent?

I mean I am reasonably well-versed in chocolate. I’m certainly no expert, but I know my Double Deckers from my Lion Bars and my Twirls from my Twix.

But this post isn’t really about chocolate bars.

Although if you’re in the mood for one you could do worse than any of the above.

But really this post is, as with all my posts, about not very much at all.

Normally I have no difficulty coming up with creative ways of writing about nothing, but recently I’ve been struggling.

Today I had a particularly bad bout of writer’s block

Indeed I have been sitting on my sofa for the best part of an hour starting, and subsequently deleting, various attempts at a blog post.

And even by the particularly low standards I set for myself, I was coming up with nothing that I considered acceptable for these prestigious pages.

And then Mrs Proclaims appeared.

I mean she came down the stairs, she didn’t magically appear in front of me like a genie.

Or someone off of Star Trek.

Upon her entering the room, I implored her to give me an idea to write about.

She looked at me suspiciously, as if having walked into a trap.

And rightly so, for I am not known to solicit suggestions when it comes to content for this blog and I can be more than a little ungracious when unsolicited suggestions are made. (This a particularly blog-specific failing on my part and should in no way be used to judge me in other areas of my life and is certainly no reflection on the state of my marriage…)

“I mean it,” I said in an attempt at reassurance, “I really can’t think of anything.”

Still with a slight sense of mistrust she pondered the situation for a moment.

“Why don’t you write a Taxonomy of Chocolate Bars?” she suggested.

I congratulated her on her brilliance and she returned to the upper rooms of our abode feeling pleased with herself.

Obviously I haven’t written a taxonomy of chocolate bars.

It’s too varied and controversial a topic for me to be able to do it justice.

But I did think it would make a good title.

And I have just eaten a chocolate bar.

It was a Lion Bar if you must know.

I’d have preferred a Double Decker, but we didn’t have any of those in the cupboard and the nearest shop is all the way across the road.

We did have Wagon Wheels in the cupboard.

I’m not sure if they count as chocolate bars, because of their shape.

If only someone had written a thorough and complete taxonomy of chocolate bars so I could find out.

Scraping The Barrel

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Is there any problem in the world that can’t be solved by a nice biscuit? Maybe a Chocolate-covered Digestive, or perhaps a Jammy Dodger?

I mean obviously obesity.

It stands to reason that you aren’t going to solve obesity by eating Shortbread.

But, aside from that, is there any problem in the world that can’t be solved by taking time out to munch on a Malted Milk?

Ok, admittedly, it’s unlikely to solve some of the bigger world problems. The UK’s ignominious separation from Europe is still going to be mishandled by Tory infighting regardless of how many Oreos you stuff into your mouth and the septuagenarian toddler in the White House is still going to spout ridiculous, regressive rhetoric irrespective of your Hobnob consumption.

But on a personal level, is there any problem that can’t be overcome by eating Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Well yes.

Eating excessive Viennese Whirls is not going to make your job any more interesting, your bathroom any more decorated or your utility bills any lower.

Bourbons are certainly not going to finish that novel you’re trying to write.

Or start writing it for that matter.

Consuming Custard Creams, gorging on Garibaldis or polishing off Pink Wafers will not lead to long-term happiness.

But they do make a lovely addition to a cup of tea or coffee and may put a smile on your face for a few minutes.

Which is something.

Jaffa Cakes are nice too, but people are often unsure whether they are biscuits or cakes.

And the answer is clearly cakes.

The clue is in the name.

But regardless of that, they do the job of a biscuit well enough.

And whatever your biscuit of choice, or hot beverage for that matter, you should go and have one of each now.

It would be a better use of your time than reading this.

It might have been better for everyone had I not shifted myself away my own biscuit tin in order to write this banality.

But, for the sake of ongoing blog content, I decided to switch scraping a biscuit barrel for a metaphorical one.

I’m truly sorry.

Have a bourbon on me*.

*I won’t actually be providing the bourbons – you’ll have to buy those yourself. Feel free to switch to another biscuit of choice instead. But do have a biscuit. You’ll feel better for it. Unless that biscuit is a Rich Tea. Because seriously, what is the point of those?

Going Cold Turkey On The Cold Turkey

James Proclaims (4)

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The trouble with ‘Twixmas’, the period between Christmas and New Year, is it’s pretty hard to judge exactly how to play things ‘health wise’.

In many households there are still quite a lot of leftovers that ‘need’ to be eaten.

Cold turkey would be a case in point. Turkey sandwiches for days after Christmas is a tradition that I’ve always enjoyed.

Although it is a ‘Twixmas’ pleasure that I’ve actually given up in the name of love. Mrs Proclaims is a pescatarian (which is someone who doesn’t eat meat but does eat fish). So (even though I don’t really get it – why has a turkey got more right to live than a tuna?) I’ve also kind of become a pescatarian of sorts. I still eat meat on occasion but when I’m cooking for both of us I tend to cook vegetarian food or fish. I like fish so it’s really no hardship. For Christmas dinner I cooked a side of salmon rather than a turkey. A whole turkey for just for me seemed excessive and a properly cooked side of salmon is quite the festive treat. It was still too much for two people so there are still lots of leftovers – it’s just that I find myself eating a lot of cold salmon rather than cold turkey. Continue reading Going Cold Turkey On The Cold Turkey

James Reviews the 2016 Marks and Spencer Chocolate Advent Calendar

James Proclaims (6)

I’m not sure if I’m going to make the review of my chocolate advent calendar an annual event. However, I did do it last Christmas Eve and I seem to be doing it again this year so there’s every chance it’ll happen again next year.

There has been a development on the chocolate advent calendar front – after many years (some might argue too many years) of indulging me, my mother has passed on the baton to my darling wife. Mrs Proclaims has stepped up to the plate however and did not disappoint.

Once again I got Marks and Spencer Advent calendar which means that once again the chocolate is of a decent quality. To be honest that’s generally enough to keep me happy, but Mrs Proclaims knows my love of Star Wars (and indeed novelty Star Wars chocolate products in particular) so to follow up last year’s Darth-Vader-themed calendar, this year I got a BB8 calendar.

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Admittedly BB8 is not a character that instantly transports me back to my youth because there was no BB8 in the original trilogy. BB8 is from last year’s ‘The Force Awakens’ but I pretty much loved everything about that film, so it’s more than ok by me. Continue reading James Reviews the 2016 Marks and Spencer Chocolate Advent Calendar

James Reviews the 2015 Marks and Spencer Chocolate Advent Calendar

James Proclaims (6)

Every year, without fail, my mum buys me a chocolate advent calendar. I would genuinely be upset if she didn’t. Yes I’m 36 years old but frankly if it’s wrong to have a chocolate advent calendar in your mid-thirties then I’m not sure I want to be right. Continue reading James Reviews the 2015 Marks and Spencer Chocolate Advent Calendar

Darth by Chocolate

James Proclaims (4)

I love Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back is probably my favourite film of all time, but I basically love all of the films, even though I am fully aware that the ‘prequel’ trilogy, particularly ‘The Phantom Menace’ are objectively quite bad. I also love Star Wars Merchandise. I had loads of toys when I was a kid, although at some point during my teenage years, my parents saw fit to give them away to my cousin, possibly robbing me of a nice little ‘resale’ nest egg. Truthfully I probably wouldn’t have sold them and might still secretly play with them today if they hadn’t done that, so maybe they were doing me a favour.

Not that it has stopped me collecting all kinds of crap in my adult life (including some new toys…). Particular favourites are my Jedi Knight dressing gown, a Christmas Jumper on which Darth Vader proclaims to “Find Your Lack of Cheer disturbing”, and a plastic electronic lightsaber bought for me by an aunt who should know better. It lights up and you can choose between red or blue, which means you can choose whether to be a Sith or a Jedi (goodie or baddie to the non-discerning)

Other Star Wars merchandise that I own include an R2D2 eggcup, a Millenium Falcon bottle opener and a Storm Trooper Mug (which looks like a Storm Trooper’s head).

The most recent addition, though sadly already departed, was this awesome Chocolate Bust of Darth Vader, which my darling wife bought for me instead of an Easter Egg.

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Easter, was of course, over a month ago, but I have only just gotten around to eating it due to a whole ‘having your hollow milk chocolate decorated figure and eating it’ dilemma. I have now eaten it and thus sadly no longer possess it. It was delicious though.